Shanghai: Garden and Food Safety

Wednesday is my day to share pictures of Shanghai, and, if I'm lucky, a fun little slice-of-life. I like to think of them as digital post-cards that tell you a little bit about what it's like to live in China.

Today's postcard is a peek at the darker side of living abroad. I hope to have something peppier to share next week, but in the interim, here is the saga of last night's dinner.

I bought a pack of chicken drumsticks ostensibly from a well-known American brand at a well-regarded grocery chain that caters to ex-pats. Meat scandals are a frequent occurrence over here. I'm not much of a meat-eater to begin with, but Mark likes some animal protein in his diet, so meat appears on our table once or twice every two weeks, and I'm careful about what I buy and from whom.

Nothing seemed off, so I cooked the chicken. Mark and I ate it, and before we even got up to do dished, we both felt the tell-tale signs of MSG overdose - the I-can't-feel-my-face-anymore, awful too-much-cheap-dim-sum feeling.

Other than the chicken, everything else in the recipe was either fresh (onions, fennel, tomatoes, celery, etc) or stuff from our pantry we've used before (polenta, butter, milk).

So it's got to be the chicken, right? The chicken was intended to be sold frozen, and it was thawed when I bought it. Also, there was a weird second packaging layer over the plastic tray on the back. The front plastic was still sealed, though, so I don't feel like I missed any major signs of tampering. Weird.

Before this, we've had a pretty good run. The last time we had this sort of  problem was when I accidentally bought a bottle of fake amaretto (yeah, I drink girly drinks sometimes) and it turned out to be mostly wood alcohol. 

I'm still feeling a bit unwell, so we're back on a vegetarian diet for the moment. Luckily, I'm getting a lot of lovely greens out of the garden, so we've got some fresh produce that's a known quantity. I have a feeling there's a lot of quiche in our future.